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Hale pleads in cabbie stabbing

“I’m sorry. I messed up. I made some bad choices.”

That was the statement a Huntington, W.Va., man made Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court just before he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for brutally attacking a cab driver late last year.

William E. Hale, 24, pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated robbery, second-degree felonious assault, third-degree tampering with evidence and fourth-degree theft. Sitting beside his attorney, Mike Gleichauf, Hale answered “guilty” each time Judge Charles Cooper asked for his plea to a charge.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Gleichauf said on Hale’s behalf. “This situation is sad. Mr. Hale is a young man who has an addiction to a substance of abuse. He made some seriously bad decisions with a couple of other individuals which led to a tragic result.”

Gleichauf said Hale never intended to hurt cab driver Walter “Corky” Asbury. He only wanted “a couple of dollars to buy some drugs.” Gleichauf said he thought Hale would be able to learn from his mistakes.

Hale was to have stood trial for his part in the attack June 22. His guilty plea preempts that trial. Two alleged accomplices, Christopher Colburn, 24, of 284 Private Drive 1285, Chesapeake, and Brandy Davis, 20, of 7965 County Road 107, Proctorville, will stand trial together Aug. 17-18, also in front of Cooper. They are each charged with complicity to aggravated robbery and complicity to tampering with evidence.

Asbury, also of Huntington, was stabbed in the neck and robbed in his taxicab at an Exxon gasoline station on County Road 107 in Proctorville in the early morning hours of Dec. 3. Hale was arrested days later after local authorities got a call from someone who had seen footage of the taxi’s video surveillance tape and identified Hale as the perpetrator.